Heading off on a long trip in the car this summer? Whether you’re off on your hols or exploring the continent in your car, we’ve got some great tips to help your trip go smoothly.
Before you go
- Check your car!
It’s easy to let simple things like checking your car over fall by the wayside when you’re excited for a holiday! Getting your car repaired (or even things like buying bulbs) can be much harder when you don’t speak the same language as the people trying to help you! Head to your local Halfords for a check before you go, and we’ll take a look at your bulbs, battery, wipers, oil levels, air con and screenwash – all for free.
- Papers, please!
Another important thing to remember is your passport, driving license and any other documents you might need. Is your license in date? Remember the new rules for renting a car abroad, and check that you’ve got the right permit (if required) for the country or countries you’ll be driving in. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re insured while you’re driving! Lastly, make sure you know where everything is, so you can show your documents if you need to!
- The law of the land
Wherever you’re going, make sure you do your homework and swot up on local laws and signs! Many countries require you to carry things with you, like breathalysers or warning triangles, and you’ll likely need a GB sticker and headlight converters. Also be aware of what the road signs mean – it’s much easier to find out from a book beforehand than from an angry policeman when you get there!
On the road
- How’s your sense of direction?
Unless you’ve done your trip a few times already, you’re probably going to need something to help you find your way. We recommend you take a look at your route beforehand to get an idea, but it’s not a good idea to rely on a printout alone!
At the very least, keep a map at the ready to deal with any unexpected diversions. Better yet, use a sat nav that will get you around during your holiday, as well as dealing with any new roads or diversions you might find. Just remember – sat navs which show speed camera locations may need to have that function disabled while you’re abroad as it can be illegal in some countries!
You might find that tolls are more common in some countries than others, so be ready to pay and have your money ready if you’re going to be using one. Also keep an eye out for countries which require a vignette (a special sticker) to use certain roads, like motorways. If you don’t have one, you might find yourself facing a fine.
- In case of emergency
We hope your holiday goes smoothly, but if something happens, make sure you know the number for emergency services. Dialling 112 will connect you to the emergency services in any country in the EU.
- Last but not least…don’t drive tired!
We all know the temptation to make your journey all in one go so that you’ve got the most time at your destination. However, driving while tired is really dangerous. Remember that you’re on holiday – take regular breaks, enjoy the journey and don’t worry if you fall behind schedule!
So, those are our top tips for road trips this summer! Don’t forget to stock up on travel and motoring accessories before you head off on your jollies. Where are you going this summer? Let us know in the comments!